Strategy is not an Art!

Every statement ‘Strategy is an art, not a science‘ knocks back any chance of being taken seriously by management colleagues.

Some such statement comes up on just about every strategy discussion group I follow, but it’s a false dichotomy, and untrue in any case. The ‘Picasso’ analogy is a nonsense – not only is every work by true artists highly creative, but every brush-stroke is too.

Creativity is a minuscule element in strategy – spotting some business idea that no-one else has done – but 99% of it is serious, logical thinking and working-out. Even issues where creativity might be helpful are much more often tackled, successfully, by reasoning than by creative genius – you can think your way to spotting new market opportunity, and work out analytically how to tackle a competitor.

There are armies of strategy professionals out there (even if not named as such) doing rigorous investigation, analysis, and decision-making, and helping their organisations do well as a result. Even where a genius insight happens, it will then be built on by hundreds of times more effort in its implementation than the split-second Eureka moment.

Can we please stop devaluing the vast amounts of hugely important, professional work that strategy professionals do?

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